hidden, radical and requires a high degree of Bible literacy to see, something thesecular or casual, lukewarm or nominalChristian does not yet possess. It will look like foolishness or just anothersubjective speculation to them.
Sabbath Years in the Torah
Most Christians have not studied the Torah or the OT in detail, so they areunfamiliar with the Sabbath years (Heb.:
and related Jubilee years (Heb.:
). Similar to how the seven dayweekly cycle ends in the Sabbath day(Saturday), Sabbath year cycles are a group of seven years ending in a specialSabbath
. Israel was given specific instructionsregarding these years, the primary of which was for farmers not to cultivate orharvest their land, leaving it foronly the poor to eat of.
Exodus 23:10-11 —
For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield,
butthe seventh year you shall let it restand lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat...You shall do likewise with your vineyard,and with your olive orchard.
Leviticus 25:2-7 —
... the land shall keep a Sabbath to the Lord.
For six years you shallsow your field, and for six years youshall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits,
but in the seventh year there shall be aSabbath of solemn rest for the land ... Youshall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.
You shall not reap what grows of itself in yourharvest, or gather the grapes of yourundressed vine...
The Sabbath of the land shall provide food for you, for yourself and for yourmale and female slaves and for yourhired servant and the sojourner who lives with you,
and for your cattle and for the wildanimals that are in your land: all its yield shallbe for food.
Later, these requirements included the release of debts and slaves:
Deuteronomy 15:1-2, 12 —
At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release.
...every creditor shall release what hehas lent to his neighbor
If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you,he shall serve you six years, and in theseventh year you shall let him go free from you.
Incidentally, the reason the Southern Kingdom of Judah was exiled for 70 years istied to the breaking of this commandment. They were put into exile one year for every Sabbath year they broke during aperiod of 490 years. When the70-year penalty was fulfilled, King Cyrus of Persia freed the Jews in a suddenchange of heart.
Related Jubilee Years and Their
Year Cycle (not
Related to this is the Jubilee year, the only other special recurring year inScripture. It is basically a week of
, in the same pattern as the Sabbath day and Sabbath year cycles, with onedifference: